The Book’s Structure
The book is made up of two interwoven narratives.
The first narrative is (an edited version of) the diary emails I wrote while travelling around the world. Those emails have been re-dated to appear as they were actually written, as opposed to when I found an internet connection to broadcast them.
The second narrative is a commentary on that story. It deals with the things I didn’t have time to articulate when they were happening and stuff that was too risqué to put in a public diary.
There are 10 chapters. Basically, I left London and kept heading east. Each chapter deals with one geographical phase of that journey.
One – The Bicycle Ride
A 150-day, 6000km bicycle ride across Europe
Two – Metropolis
40 days in Istanbul
Three – Asian Fluctuations
A visit to Asia
Four – Down Under
Arriving in Australia; everything goes wrong
Five – Hindustan
A visit to India
Six – The Boiling Pot
Five months in Sydney’s bohemian quarter
Seven – Magical Mystery Tour
Hitchhiking across Australia
Eight – On Bread Loaf Mountain
Two months in Quito
Nine – Global Deconstruction
Quito to Buenos Aires
Ten – Pilgrim Unplugged
Buenos Aires to Georgetown
As the story progresses, the two narratives play off against each other, telling the same story from different angles. The themes of that story include a jolly pilgrim going around the world having adventures; the introspective aspect of that experience; and a stream of data about human civilisation.
During the story, a method for thinking about global society is presented, in which particular features of the world are contextualised in terms of the broader historical narrative of which they’re the current expression.
When doing this, I assume a certain level of reader knowledge. For example, a basic understanding of human history, some of the key insights about the world provided by science and some knowledge of the big political, economic, religious and environmental debates taking place during the early twenty-first century.
During the first eight chapters, the commentary acts as the background to the travel story. Then, at the end of chapter eight (2/3 of the way through), they flip, the travel story becomes the backdrop and the gloves come off.
At that point I do my level best to take you right up into the stars.
Here’s a taster …